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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Opportunities abound for community participation this year

Jan 05, 2023 11:03AM ● By Cassie Goff

Started in 2019, the Parks, Trails and Open Space Committee is the youngest Cottonwood Heights’ committee. (Photo courtesy of Cottonwood Heights)

Calling all residents! The city of Cottonwood Heights, along with their various resident-led councils and committees, have more opportunities for resident involvement than ever before. Many have excitedly announced their plans and events for 2023.   

Arts Council

The Cottonwood Heights Arts Council is dedicated to all arts within the city. Members of the Arts Council—Laura Garcia, Elise Hogan, Katy Mitarai, Carol Whittaker, Penny Broussard and Camilla Fowler— believe the arts are vital to maintaining a healthy and happy community. Their mission is to enrich the lives of residents by providing engaging cultural events and educational opportunities that foster creativity and passion for the arts within the community. 

After a long-awaited return (ever since cancellation in 2020), the Cottonwood Heights Film Festival will take place on Jan. 21 at Butler Middle School (7530 S. 2700 East). The preshow will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a live birds of prey presentation from HawkWatch International. At 5 p.m., the showing of “The Eagle Huntress” will begin. After which, the showing of “Waste Land” will begin at 7 p.m. Entry to the festival is free. 

“While these events happen year round, the biggest opportunity for involvement comes in the months prior to the city’s annual summer musical, presented in July,” said Garcia. 

Every summer, the Arts Council works to put on a musical performance. Members are thrilled to announce that the 2023 production will be “Guys and Dolls.” Auditions will be held in March with productions currently scheduled for the beginning of July. 

The Arts Council is currently seeking members and volunteers. To apply, fill-out the application form found on the Arts Council page of the city’s website (, or email [email protected] for more information.

If volunteering doesn’t suit your style, residents can be involved with the Arts Council through sponsorships. Friend sponsors begin at $25 with corporate season sponsors ranging all the way up through $2,000 or more. To become an Arts Council pARTner, email [email protected]

Learn more about the Arts Council by subscribing to their emails, or by visiting their social media pages on Facebook at CHArtsCouncil or Instagram at chcityarts. 

Historic Committee 

The Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee identifies, preserves and enhances the buildings, artifacts, documents and stories that inform the community’s collective history. Current members of the Historic Committee are Jim Kichas, Carol Woodside, Beverly Beckstead, Gayle Conger, Ken Verdoia, Jerry Christensen, Jessica Despain, Bruce Lubeck and Don Cannon. During the Dec. 6 city council meeting, Jim Kichas, Jessica Despain and Jerry Christensen were re-appointed to the Historic Committee for three-year terms.

“It’s an incredible attribute to our city to have these three people on the Historic Committee,” said Councilmember Ellen Birrell. 

During 2023, the Historic Committee plans to stay busy and engaged with their ongoing projects. These include applying for a grant that will allow them to continue documenting historic homes and areas in the city and conducting oral history interviews with several long-time community members to add to their Digital Archive.

“Our online Digital Archive allows residents to engage with the history of our city 24/7 from the convenience of their computer, smart phone, or tablet,” said Chair Jim Kichas.  

The current collections within the Digital Archives include Historic Maps, Historical Photographs, Oral Histories, School History, Historic Preservation projects, Community Reminisces, and Places within Cottonwood Heights. To view these collections, visit the Archive Information page on the city’s website.  Residents are encouraged to help the Historic Committee identify further photos and records for the Digital Archive by emailing [email protected].

“The Historic Committee has an active presence during the annual Butlerville Days celebration in July, so keep an eye out for this historic walks and exhibits we will make available as part of the festivities!” Kichas said. 

In 2023, the Historic Committee plans to add to their digital archives. The current collections within their digital archives include historic maps, historical photographs, oral histories, school history, historic preservation projects, community reminisces, and places within Cottonwood Heights. To view these collections, visit the Archive Information page on the city’s website.  

In addition, they hope to continue selling the book they helped to curate two years prior: “City Between the Canyons: A History of Cottonwood Heights, 1849-1953” by Allen D. Roberts. Residents can buy this historic book online or in person at Cottonwood Heights City Hall (2277 E. Bengal Blvd.).

The Historic Committee is seeking members and volunteers. Members typically serve three-year terms. To be a part of this committee, visit their page on the Cottonwood Heights City website ( to fill out the application. 

Parks, Trails, and Open Space Committee 

The Cottonwood Heights Parks, Trails and Open Space (PTOS) Committee is devoted to finding new ways to maintain and enhance parks and open spaces throughout the city. Their vision is to promote the creation and maintenance of safe, sustainable and interconnected outdoor spaces for future generations. 

Current PTOS Committee members are Greg Hilbig, Michael Menssen, Erin Davis, Sarah Ricketts, Matthew Dominesey, Chris Owens, Greg Reid, Aline Longstaff, Paula McFarland, Ronna Cohen, Larry Alserda, Jennifer Shah, Bruce Jorgenson and Melissa Fields. 

During 2023, the PTOS Committee plans to initiate their Volunteer in the Parks program. 

“We are hoping to have a captain and crew at each park to help monitor any maintenance needs, check for graffiti, and pick up trash, if needed. The idea is to have volunteers walk through their assigned park on a regular basis and report back to their captain,” Cohen said. 

The PTOS Committee is seeking residents willing to serve as captains in the Volunteer in the Parks program. In addition, they are welcoming new volunteers to help serve on both the program and committee. To apply, visit  

Emergency Preparedness 

Headed by Cottonwood Heights Police Department Assistant Chief Paul Brennaman, the Emergency Preparedness division works with volunteers to prevent, prepare, educate, respond and recover from hazards.

During 2023, The Emergency Preparedness team will continue to help local businesses create disaster plans by assessing and managing risk. If interested, local businesses can email [email protected]

In addition, Brennaman and his team are looking forward to a handful of events in spring 2023. The annual ShakeOut event will be held April 22 from 9 a.m. until noon.

Residents may sign up to attend a CERT Basic Training Course beginning Jan. 26 and running until March 16. This course will require attending eight evening classes and one Saturday activity (specific dates yet to be determined). If you would like to register for the course, contact your local EM District or email Brennaman directly at [email protected]

CHPD’s Citizens Academy will begin Feb. 22 and run through May 3. Attendees will attend 11 evening courses covering a variety of topics such as use of force, emergency communications, SWAT and arresting procedures. To secure your spot, sign up through the city’s website ( 

The Emergency Preparedness team encourages residents to opt in to receiving alerts from 911. Residents can register their mobile devices to receive real-time notifications during a disaster, health crisis or public safety event from the Valley Emergency Communications Center (VECC). To register, visit VECC’s website at

Youth City Council 

The Cottonwood Heights Youth City Council is comprised of middle school and high school age members who live within the boundaries of Cottonwood Heights. Members of the council participate in social events, receive education on local government, provide service for various city plans, and volunteer during city events. 

Besides their two regularly scheduled Education and Service meetings in January, the Youth City Council will spend Jan. 18 at the Utah State Capitol for their annual Day with the Legislature. Youth members will attend various legislative meetings, visit the legislative chambers and meet local legislators. 

The council will be accepting applications for their 2023 council in late February. To learn more about the Youth City Council, visit their page on the city’s website ( 

City Events

Cottonwood Heights invites residents to volunteer during city events. To connect with the community, gain work experience, learn new skills or to even make a new friend, sign up to volunteer during city events by emailing [email protected]

Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling 

The Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District (WFWRD) plans to roll out some new programs during 2023. One of the first programs residents can anticipate will be their Christmas Tree Recycling program. From Jan. 1-31, WFWRD will pick up Christmas trees curbside after resident’s regularly scheduled collection day. Those trees will be recycled into compost. 

In order for residents to take advantage of this program, a request form must be submitted through the WFWRD website on the day of desired pickup. The tree must be physically on the curbside. In addition, WFWRD asks trees to be free of all decorations including tinsel, flocking and stands. If possible, large trees are requested to be cut in half. 

Utah League of Cities and Towns 

As the legislative season is upon us, many residents and local officials are thinking about Utah laws and policies. The Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) encourages residents to stay informed and involved with the legislative process. Residents can contact their local legislators on specific issues and utilize the resources provided on the ULCT website ( 

Residents may also bump into Mayor Mike Weichers, Councilmember Shawn Newell and City Manager Tim Tingey while volunteering and/or engaging with ULCT, as these members of the Cottonwood Heights leadership serve on the Legislative Policy Committee by providing input on current Utah legislative priorities. 

Town Halls

On occasion, various city councilmembers and city departments will host either open-ended or project-specific town halls. These town halls are designed to gather resident feedback and opinions on various topics and developments throughout the city. The town halls currently planned but awaiting specific dates will likely be held in January (as of publication date to gather resident feedback on the Cottonwood Heights General Plan. 

“It is essential that we have input from residents and property owners,” Tingey said. 

To learn more about the General Plan, under the Cottonwood Heights Tomorrow project, visit the city’s website ( and search for “general plan update.” 

To stay up to date with information regarding town halls, sign up for email updates through the city’s website or follow the city’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram by following “cottonwoodheights.” 

Public Comment

Residents can submit comments concerning anything related to city business to the Planning Commission or City Council during their biweekly meetings. Residents may choose to either voice their comments in person or submit comments virtually through email. Virtual public comments must be submitted to Records and Culture Director Paula Melgar before 4 p.m. the day of the meeting or submitted through the “Public Comment” form found on the city’s website. In-person public comment sessions are held during biweekly meetings at 6 p.m. for the Planning Commission and 7 p.m. for the City Council. 

“Residents can sign up for city meeting notifications (at and attend the meeting to provide feedback,” said Communications Manager Lindsay Wilcox. 

The Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission deliberates on land use issues including property rezones and ordinance changes. The Planning Commission can either make final recommendations to the City Council or grant conditional use permits or site plan approvals, depending on the discussion item. Current members of the Planning Commission are Jesse Allen, Mike Shelton, Jessica Chappell, Jonathan Ebbeler, Dan Mills, Lucy Anderson and Sean Steinman.  

The commission meets every first and third Wednesday of the month at Cottonwood Heights City Hall (2277 E. Bengal Blvd.). Residents can attend these meetings in person or over Zoom by registering through the city’s website. 

The Planning Commission is accepting applications for their District 1 At-Large Commissioner seat (as of publication). To apply, visit the Boards and Commissions page on the city’s website ( 

The Cottonwood Heights City Council is the main elected legislative body for the city. Current members of the city council are Mayor Weichers, Councilmember Doug Peterson, Councilmember Scott Bracken, Councilmember Newell, and Councilmember Ellen Birrell. 

The council meets every first and third Tuesday of the month. Residents can attend city council meetings either in person at Cottonwood Heights City Hall or over Zoom by registering through the city’s website.